has a great article on Military Dogs Working to Serve & Protect
and the handlers who train them for everything from explosives detection, SAR and drug interdiction along with my
personal favorite, "apprehension and retention."("Grek" demonstrates this beautifully with Petty Officer 2nd Class Johnny B. Mitchell in the photo on the left.)
Military Working Dogs have come a long way since the days when they were used as scouts and then left behind when the troops came home. This was standard procedure for the military through the better part of the Vietnam War. It took a huge outcry from handlers that finally led to policy changes and slowly, the value of the the K9 started to be fully recognized.
Six of same soldiers who refused to be silenced when forced to abandon their K9s in Vietnam came together again in 1993, to form the Vietnam Dog Handler Association
. They were the driving force behind the creation of the first National War Dog Memorial, located in California. An identical monument was dedicated soon after on the grounds of Ft. Benning's Infantry Museum. The inscription on these 19 ft bronze statues of a GI and his scout dog is the simple, heartfelt truth for the men who wrote it:
"They protected us on the field of battle. They watch over our eternal rest. We are grateful."
Ft. Benning Memorial
The Marine Corps. paid tribute to a Doberman named "Kurt," who saved the lives of 250 Marines during the battle for Guam from 21 July to 10 August 1944. They did so by creating a bronze, life-sized statue of him keeping watch from atop a granite monument; placed at the U.S. Marine Corps War Dog Cemetery on the island of Guam. Inscribed in the stone beneath him are the names of the 25 Dobermans buried there who gave their lives liberating the island in WWII.
"Kurt" immortalized in bronze, keeping the watch.
Check the article for more great photos and stories of these 4-legged warriors at work. And yes, I might be a wee bit biased when it comes to K9's. Especially when they look as good as mine!
Lobo Azules - Age 3
Oh, and while I'm on the subject, there are many Military Working Dog Handlers on the list at AnySoldier. I know this because I adopted three of them last week. Wouldn't you like to do the same?